A new $35,000 B.C. Gaming Grant means the third and final phase of Ladysmith’s Brown Drive Kin Park could be complete before the end of the summer.
“We thought it would be another year before phase three was done. With this grant, it’s turned the whole thing around,” said Duck Paterson of the Ladysmith Kinsmen. “The grant does not mean we’re out of the woods yet, but it makes it look super promising.”
Paterson said the organization received notification of the grant March 23 after making the application in December.
“We got [a $45,000 grant] when we did phase two, and we thought that was it but figured let’s take a chance and see if we could get [another] one to finish phase three,” he said.
With the gaming grant and $10,000 being committed by the Town of Ladysmith in its preliminary budget, as well as an additional $3,700 raised by the playground committee, the Kinsmen are approximately $6,000 short of the $54,000 needed to purchase the playground equipment from Henderson Recreation Equipment Ltd.
The Kinsmen are now looking for ways to fundraise the final portion. With the recent announcement that the federal government is axing the penny, Paterson said a penny drive might be the best way to come up with the funds.
“Six thousand dollars in the whole scheme of things isn’t a whole pile of money,” he said. “If we got $2.25 from each household [in Ladysmith], that would finish the playground. In fact, if anyone has $2.25 they want to donate, they can phone me and I’ll come and get it.”
The Brown Drive Kin Park project began as a dream almost immediately after its rotting predecessor had to be torn down nearly three years ago.
Since then, it has been a real community effort to get the park to where it now stands. Donations and volunteer hours have poured in from businesses like Dave Stalker Excavating and Leyland Contracting. Last year, the Oceanview Community Church held a number of fundraisers to help out the cause.
“We have a lot of great people — businesses, organizations and individuals that see the advantages of doing this because it enhances the community and gives people a lot of pride,” Paterson said.
Phase one of the park was completed in March 2011 at a cost of $73,000. Phase two followed in the summer of 2011 at a cost of $64,000.
“To get phase one and two done as quick as we did and get the grass and ground cover in … took a fair chunk of energy and knocking on doors,” Paterson said. “We figured we had pretty much drained everything for the next little while.”
If the project is complete by the end of the year, Henderson has committed to donating a $3,000 swing set, which would be installed on the toddler portion of the playground.
Anyone wanting to donate to the Brown Drive Kin Park project can do so at the Ladysmith and District Credit Union or can call Paterson at 250-245-2263.